March 18, 2020 / 6:37 PM / 17 days ago

France reports huge spike in coronavirus deaths, raising total to 264

A man wearing a protective face mask walks past a Louis Vuitton shop on the Croisette in Cannes where the Cannes Film Festival and the Cannes Lions take place, as a lockdown is imposed to slow the rate of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in France, March 18, 2020. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

PARIS (Reuters) - French health authorities reported 89 new deaths from coronavirus on Wednesday, taking the total to 264 or an increase of almost 51%, a much more marked rise than recently seen as the country was in its second day of a lockdown aimed at containing the outbreak.

During a press conference, health agency director Jerome Salomon added the number of cases had risen to 9,134, up from 7,730 on Tuesday, which is a rise of 18% in 24 hours.

Salomon said 931 people were in a serious condition, needing life support.

Reporting Benoit Van Overstraeten; Editing by Chris Reese

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